Editor’s Note: This article was written before Halloween
Halloween is just right around the corner! There would be quite a great number of Halloween-themed events going on around the city especially over the Halloween week.
Particularly in our City of Brotherly Love, we have several historical sights where they have hidden spooky stories behind them as well as haunted attractions to explore. Aside from highly commercialized ways of celebrating the Halloween, this would be a great time to remember and commemorate the dead. I believe Laurel Hill Cemetery is the perfect spot for the Halloween spirit.
Laurel Hill Cemetery is located at 3822 Ridge Ave. along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. This place was “founded in 1836 and designed by Scottish architect John Notman” (PA historical and museum commission 2000). Back in 1998, Laurel Hill Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark due to “this site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America” (National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior). Apparently in this cemetery, there are “statesmen, Civil War generals, industrialists, inventors and countless visionaries who shaped the histories of our city and nation rest soundly under Laurel Hill’s perpetual care” (thelaurelhillcemetery.org).
Fascinatingly, several spots in Laurel Hill Cemetery were used to shoot Hollywood movies so long as the movie Creed, which is also known as spin-off of the movie Rocky Balboa. Thus, Adrian Balboa’s “resting place” in Laurel Hill Cemetery was somewhat crucial in that movie. On top of that, Laurel Hill Cemetery can be also seen in the movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Exploring those Hollywood film locations in this cemetery would be another exciting thing to do.
Moreover, Phillies’ beloved sportscaster, Harry Norbert Kalas’ resting place is also here in Laurel Hill Cemetery. There is a small section of the museum in the cemetery has equipped various items to honor his work. Each commemorating pieces absolutely show how much Phillies fans loved him and missing him as well.
This Laurel Hill Cemetery is “estimated 78-acre tract of land and that is divided into three sections—the North, Central, and South sections” with numerous monuments and family lots (thelaurelhillcemetery.org). In other words, there are tons of things explore in this site! Every monument has unique and exotic designs with significant meanings in them. Therefore, Laurel Hill Cemetery offers guided tour and various events all through the year. They organize not only Halloween related events, but also educational tours and community-oriented events as well. This historical site is open to public all year around and they have detailed maps and informative broachers on the site that allow individual tour.
From my own experience of exploring this Laurel Hill Cemetery, the best part was the combination of outstanding overlooking-view of the Schuylkill River with exquisite monuments. However, once I entered the site, I experienced indescribable feelings that were peaceful, solemnity, and somehow overwhelming. It was mainly because the cemetery was unbelievably quite and I was surrounded by dead. Also, many loving and touching inscriptions made me smile and sad at the same time especially when I saw moving words from parents to their children who passed. Therefore, I believe that visiting the Laurel Hill Cemetery over the Halloween week is a great way to commemorating dead and appreciate what we have in our lives.